Nothing evokes the feeling of having spent a day in the snowy mountains than the warm fuzzy feeling of a vin chaud in your tummy. Unfortunately much of the mulled wine on offer in London bars is an excuse to sell cheap red disguised with bitter orange at £8 a glass – yuk!
After some experimenting with the recipes I found online, I landed on this, which combines some of my favourite spices with the smooth taste of vanilla to create something altogether more mellow- perfect for causing you to doze off in front of the fire and dream of blue sky powder days. Even the clove-sceptic GEH liked it! Just make sure you use a nice bottle of red wine to mix with it. For an added ‘warm inside’ feeling I have used Fairtrade ingredients wherever possible – fairtrade sugar, spices and even wine can be found in most supermarkets.
Will make: 3-4 bottles of mulling syrup (each bottle combines with a bottle of red to make mulled wine). Is also really nice to use for poached pears.
- 1 bottle nice red wine (or 750ml water/apple juice if you want to use for mulled cider or apple)
- 500g sugar
- 2 vanilla pods split down the middle
- 1/3 nutmeg, grated
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 star anise
- A knob of fresh ginger
- 12 cloves (don’t tell GEH)
- 12 whole allspice
- 6 clementines
- 2 limes
- 1 lemon
- 4 x 250ml preserving bottles
- A funnel
- A very fine strainer or filter (I used a sterilised tea strainer)
- Use a vegetable peeler to take large sections of peel from the lemon and lime.
- Put in a saucepan with all ingredients except the wine, clementines and star anise.
- Cut the clementines into quarters and squeeze into the saucepan. Throw in the peel too.
- Add in the wine/water and give a good stir.
- Heat over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Throw in the star anise.
- Boil for 10 minutes to produce a syrup.
- Meanwhile, sterilise your bottles.
- When the bottles are ready, pour in the hot liquid using the funnel and filter (very important if using water to avoid too much sediment). Add a cinnamon stick and star anise for decoration if you wish. Seal whilst still hot.
- Add an instruction label: ‘heat with 1 bottle of red wine and a good glug of brandy for a festive treat.’ Should keep for a couple of months.